J-L

J. Edgar (2011)

A com­plete dis­as­ter that por­trays Hoover as a self­ish, in­se­cure and in­tol­er­ant man but we nev­er find out who he re­al­ly was. Be­sides, the make­up is atro­cious, while the over­ly de­sat­u­rat­ed cin­e­matog­ra­phy and drag­ging pace keep the au­di­ence even more emo­tion­al­ly dis­tant.


The JK Years: A Po­lit­i­cal Tra­jec­to­ry (1981)

Di­dac­tic in its ap­proach but still pret­ty rel­e­vant as an ex­pos­i­to­ry po­lit­i­cal es­say about a pe­ri­od in time that may seem too far back now, this is a com­pre­hen­sive doc­u­men­tary that of­fers a re­mark­ably de­tailed look at who Ku­bitschek was as both a strate­gic politi­cian and an am­bi­tious man.


Jack Reach­er (2012)

This thrilling crime movie is grip­ping and well writ­ten, even with some bla­tant clichés along the way. And the best about it is, of course, Tom Cruise, who of­fers a mag­net­ic per­for­mance in a great nar­ra­tive full of awe­some twists and ex­cit­ing hand fights.


Jack Ryan: Shad­ow Re­cruit (2014)

An un­o­rig­i­nal and for­get­table movie so full of worn-out clichés and so far-fetched that it will only be sur­pris­ing or ex­cit­ing for some­one who has nev­er seen any­thing in their lives be­fore, with also an in­tru­sive, clichéd score and a good cast that cer­tain­ly de­served bet­ter.


Jack­ass Presents: Bad Grand­pa (2013)

Not even near as fun­ny as it be­lieves to be with its amount of hack­neyed jokes that you would ex­pect from an ab­solute re­tard, this is an ir­ri­tat­ing col­lec­tion of hid­den cam­era pranks that nev­er come to­geth­er as a nar­ra­tive and just seem to have no pur­pose what­so­ev­er.


The Jack­et (2005)

The film has an in­trigu­ing idea but takes too long to fi­nal­ly kick in, which is some­thing that ought to be a bit ex­as­per­at­ing for some view­ers, and it al­most gets ru­ined by a sil­ly end­ing that tries too hard to be op­ti­mistic against any log­ic left, even if the ac­tors do their best to sell it.


Jack­ie (2016)

Filmed in 16 mm, which cre­ates an au­then­tic feel of watch­ing a doc­u­men­tary piece, this is a mag­net­ic and emo­tion­al­ly res­o­nant film that re­lies on Na­tal­ie Portman’s su­perb per­for­mance and a mag­nif­i­cent score that plunges us into the dread and night­mare en­dured by the char­ac­ter.


Jack­ie Brown (1997)

Not Tarantino’s best work but still an en­joy­able homage to blax­ploita­tion with a wel­come come­back by Pam Gri­er — and al­though this sol­id crime movie has charm and style, it is also a bit over­long and could have had a few scenes left out in post-pro­duc­tion.


Jane Eyre (2011)

The pro­duc­tion de­sign and cos­tumes are in­deed ex­quis­ite, as well as the ab­sorb­ing Goth­ic at­mos­phere. How­ev­er, the film lacks pas­sion and mys­tery, while the di­a­logue sounds in­cred­i­bly cheesy and Wasikows­ka is too ap­a­thet­ic for the role.


Jane Got a Gun (2015)

O’Connor’s di­rec­tion is a tad heavy-hand­ed (some of the flash­back scenes and even the score are hor­ri­bly corny and mis­placed), but the film is sol­id enough in its at­tempt to cre­ate a nu­anced con­text for the char­ac­ters and make us care about them in a tense third act.


Jan­go (1984)

A typ­i­cal­ly di­dac­tic doc­u­men­tary by Sil­vio Tendler about a very well-in­ten­tioned pres­i­dent who didn’t seem to be quite aware of the snake pit where he was, and yet it feels like there is not as much to be found here about Jan­go as about Brazil’s po­lit­i­cal sce­nario in the 1960s.


Ja­nis: Lit­tle Girl Blue (2015)

What this ex­cel­lent and well-di­rect­ed doc­u­men­tary does so well is cre­ate a pro­found­ly nu­anced por­trait of a sen­si­tive, three-di­men­sion­al woman who only want­ed to be hap­py, and it may not tell every­thing about her (how could it?) but of­fers a touch­ing look at her com­plex char­ac­ter.


Jau­ja (2014)

The stun­ning cin­e­matog­ra­phy — in an al­most square ra­tio of round­ed cor­ners — knows how to ex­plore the green vast­ness of its land­scapes, but Alon­so mis­takes te­dious for con­tem­pla­tive, and it doesn’t help that the last half hour turns out to be a full in­cur­sion into ab­solute noth­ing­ness.


The Jazz Singer (1927)

No­table as the first fea­ture film with au­di­ble di­a­logue and touch­ing as it shows a man torn apart by a dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion, it be­comes a dis­gust­ing melo­dra­ma in its last fif­teen min­utes, when its two pos­si­ble end­ings are thrown in to­geth­er and the char­ac­ter makes a most un­ac­cept­able choice.


Je Suis Char­lie (2015)

A bare­ly su­per­fi­cial re­cap struc­tured from te­dious scenes of wit­ness­es and friends of the vic­tims talk­ing end­less­ly to the cam­era (which is, well, the most frus­trat­ing kind of doc­u­men­tary) with­out adding any­thing new or of­fer­ing any in­sight into such a com­plex sub­ject.


Jean Charles (2009)

Fact is, Jean Charles would have nev­er had his life filmed if he hadn’t been killed in such re­volt­ing cir­cum­stances. Oth­er­wise, if not for such a lam­en­ta­ble in­ci­dent, he would only be an­oth­er dead man with a life sto­ry not in­ter­est­ing enough to be­come a film.


Jean de Flo­rette (1986)

It al­most makes us feel guilty that we are root­ing for the vil­lains, who con­spire so greed­i­ly to force a man off his own land, and is el­e­vat­ed even more by Jean-Claude Petit’s won­der­ful score and two ex­cel­lent per­for­mances by Yves Mon­tand and Daniel Au­teuil.


Jeep­ers Creep­ers (2001)

De­spite the fact that the two main char­ac­ters are com­plete id­iots and the cin­e­matog­ra­phy is so dark that some­times it is re­al­ly hard to see what is in front of us, this is a fun and creepy hor­ror movie that is all the more in­trigu­ing when you know it was made by a con­vict­ed pe­dophile.


The Jef­frey Dah­mer Files (2012)

A poor­ly-put-to­geth­er com­bi­na­tion of talk­ing heads and cheap re-en­act­ments that of­fer no real in­sight into the mind of a se­r­i­al killer, ba­si­cal­ly telling what many of us al­ready know and not be­ing that in­ter­est­ing for those who know noth­ing about the case.


The Jerk (1979)

The most ir­ri­tat­ing thing in this film (apart from the gen­er­al­ly pedes­tri­an sense of hu­mor and lack of struc­ture) is that it can’t seem to de­cide if Steve Martin’s char­ac­ter is sup­posed to be a naive id­iot who doesn’t know any­thing or a quick-wit­ted smar­tass when­ev­er re­quired.


Jer­ry Maguire (1996)

The nar­ra­tive feels a bit long and could have cer­tain­ly been short­er, but Crowe car­ries out this well-writ­ten, su­perbly-edit­ed romance/character study with a lot of hon­esty and tal­ent, re­ly­ing on fan­tas­tic per­for­mances by Tom Cruise, Cuba Good­ing Jr. and Renée Zell­weger.


Jer­sey Boys (2014)

A dull, un­in­volv­ing and de­riv­a­tive biopic full of the clichés that East­wood has by now be­come an ex­pert on, and it doesn’t give us any rea­son why this sto­ry de­serves to be told or what makes those char­ac­ters re­mote­ly in­ter­est­ing be­sides Frankie Valli’s voice.


Jer­sey Girl (2004)

Some may ar­gue that it has a heart (and it does), but it also has too many clichés — in­clud­ing a heavy-hand­ed sound­track that al­ways makes plain ex­plic­it what Affleck’s char­ac­ter is feel­ing -, and it doesn’t help that his re­la­tion­ship with Liv Tyler’s is so forced from the get go.


Je­sus Camp (2006)

It is ap­palling to see the ne­far­i­ous ef­fects of re­li­gion and the fun­da­men­tal­ist in­doc­tri­na­tion of chil­dren car­ried out by those ig­no­rant, delu­sion­al min­is­ters who are so strong­ly com­mit­ted to brain­wash­ing them into be­com­ing a bunch of fa­nat­ics and turn­ing the USA into a theoc­ra­cy.


Je­sus Christ Su­per­star (1973)

A su­per tacky rock opera that looks aw­ful­ly out­dat­ed and has only a few good songs amid many hor­ri­ble ones (of course, An­drew Lloyd Web­ber and Tim Rice), but even worse is how it soon be­comes a te­dious, in­con­se­quen­tial se­ries of Bib­li­cal events af­ter a promis­ing be­gin­ning.


La Jetée (1962)

Con­sist­ing (al­most) en­tire­ly of still-shot black-and-white pho­tographs and a male voiceover nar­ra­tion, this is a mes­mer­iz­ing, po­et­ic and in­flu­en­tial pho­to-ro­man that uses an in­trigu­ing sci­ence-fic­tion con­cept to dis­cuss mem­o­ries and our tem­po­ral re­la­tion­ship with them.


Jezebel (1938)

A mi­nor melo­dra­ma that came as a con­so­la­tion prize for Davis, who didn’t get the main role in Gone with the Wind — and, just like in that film, the pro­tag­o­nist is a spoiled, im­pu­dent woman who likes to ma­nip­u­late the men around her. The high­lights in­clude the el­e­gant di­a­logue and Davis’ fierce per­for­mance.


Jig­saw (2017)

This is the eighth film of the fran­chise, and so any­one who has ob­vi­ous­ly seen the pre­vi­ous movies be­fore jump­ing into this one will rec­og­nize all of the same tricks, plot de­vices and typ­i­cal twists, but still this in­stall­ment is en­ter­tain­ing and co­her­ent enough not to be a dis­as­ter.


Jim & Andy: The Great Be­yond — Fea­tur­ing a Very Spe­cial, Con­trac­tu­al­ly Ob­lig­at­ed Men­tion of Tony Clifton (2017)

It is quite nice to see these im­ages re­leased to the pub­lic af­ter so many years, now in a cu­ri­ous doc­u­men­tary that ex­plores Jim Carrey’s cre­ative process show­ing us how he em­braced the char­ac­ter of Andy Kauf­man and even treat­ed him (as well as Tony Clifton) as a real hu­man be­ing.


Jimmy’s Hall (2014)

I hope this is not Loach’s fi­nal film as it has been ru­mored, a sol­id dra­ma that takes the easy way but shows in an hon­est man­ner how in all times re­li­gion has been a hin­drance to knowl­edge and plea­sure, as em­bod­ied here by Jim Nor­ton in a strong, nu­anced per­for­mance.


The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (2015)

The last ten min­utes are so dis­turb­ing and grotesque that they will leave me think­ing about this whole busi­ness for a long time, and even though Jarecki’s meth­ods are eth­i­cal­ly ques­tion­able (he with­holds im­por­tant ev­i­dence), this is a fas­ci­nat­ing doc­u­men­tary that sheds light on some­thing too bizarre to be real.


Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)

Even for those who are not into sushi, it can only be an enor­mous plea­sure to lis­ten to this 85-year-old sushi mas­ter (and the peo­ple around him) talk about his per­fec­tion­ism and love for what he does, as well as the man’s re­la­tion­ship with his el­dest son who is sup­posed to suc­ceed him.


Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work (2010)

A very com­pelling doc­u­men­tary that takes a good look at one year in the life of a worka­holic diva of yore who was born to be in the spot­light, and it proves to be quite re­veal­ing not only about her need of star­dom and recog­ni­tion but also about show busi­ness it­self.


Joaquim (2017)

Cast­ing aside all of the glam­our that is usu­al­ly present in sto­ries about na­tion­al he­roes and mar­tyrs, this nu­anced char­ac­ter study is in­stead a nat­u­ral­is­tic por­trait of the man be­hind the hero and of the so­ciopo­lit­i­cal con­di­tions that would lead him to be­come a rev­o­lu­tion­ary.


Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013)

An ex­treme­ly fas­ci­nat­ing, pro­found­ly frus­trat­ing yet also sur­pris­ing­ly cheer­ful ac­count of the great­est adap­ta­tion that nev­er was as glo­ri­ous­ly en­vis­aged by the mind of an artis­tic ge­nius ob­sessed with the idea that he was cre­at­ing a sa­cred mas­ter­piece that would change the uni­verse for­ev­er.


Joe (2013)

With Cage’s best and most nu­anced per­for­mance since Bad Lieu­tenant and a sol­id, sen­si­tive di­rec­tion by Green in what seems like the finest dra­ma of his ca­reer to date, this bleak film also of­fers out­stand­ing per­for­mances by Sheri­dan and (es­pe­cial­ly) non-ac­tor Poul­ter.


John Dies at the End (2012)

The com­plete mess of a plot tries at every cost to be a smart-ass com­e­dy filled with an off­beat hu­mor that, apart from a very few in­spired mo­ments, is sim­ply em­bar­rass­ing — as we can see, for in­stance, from an aw­ful arac­ni­cide joke in the movie’s ridicu­lous last hour.


John Wick (2014)

For those who like Tak­en and its se­quels, here is a much more styl­ish, grip­ping and smart ac­tion movie that boasts an awe­some sound­track, thrilling fight scenes and a badass Keanu Reeves shoot­ing, kick­ing and prov­ing that he can be an ac­tion movie star like few oth­ers.


John Wick: Chap­ter 2 (2017)

An ex­hil­a­rat­ing se­quel that does jus­tice to the first movie by ex­pand­ing this fas­ci­nat­ing world of crim­i­nals and as­sas­sins to an­oth­er lev­el with its rules, scope and reach, while at the same time of­fer­ing us more amaz­ing fight scenes, deaths (lots of them) and set pieces.


John Wick: Chap­ter 3 — Para­bel­lum (2019)

The ac­tion and fight­ing scenes are still thrilling enough to watch, but there is a ma­jor sense of lazy rep­e­ti­tion here; be­sides, the plot is not that con­sis­tent, and it be­comes hard to be­lieve the char­ac­ters’ dumb de­ci­sions or care about some­thing that doesn’t want to have an end.


John­ny Gui­tar (1954)

The first 45 min­utes are per­fect, with im­pec­ca­ble per­for­mances (Craw­ford at her best) and an ex­cep­tion­al di­a­logue, but then the film starts to lose steam and drag in a few mo­ments, while Vienna’s peace­ful (pas­sive, that would be) mo­ti­va­tions be­come a bit ex­as­per­at­ing.


Jonathas’ For­est (2012)

The strong sec­ond half ben­e­fits from an im­pres­sive sound de­sign that im­mers­es us in a re­lent­less jun­gle to make us feel the character’s agony and iso­la­tion, but even so the re­sult feels a bit in­com­plete, as if less than a sum of its parts — parts which hard­ly come to­geth­er in a sat­is­fy­ing way.


Jour­nal de France (2012)

A fas­ci­nat­ing doc­u­men­tary cen­tered on the work of a cu­ri­ous artist who kept a reg­is­ter of many episodes of our his­to­ry with his cam­era, and it is an ir­re­sistible col­lec­tion of amaz­ing footage of his­tor­i­cal events and new scenes that he shot through­out his beloved France.


Jour­ney to Italy (1954)

An in­ti­mate and in­volv­ing dra­ma about an un­hap­py cou­ple fac­ing the col­lapse of their mar­riage while on a trip that only ex­pos­es their mu­tu­al dis­con­tent. It feels sad and real, but it is a pity that the sto­ry ends in such an easy and ar­ti­fi­cial way.


Joy (2015)

Rus­sell tries so hard to lamp­shade the bla­tant ar­ti­fi­cial­i­ty (typ­i­cal of a soap opera) found in this ab­surd, un­be­liev­able sto­ry (based very slight­ly on true events) that the re­sult is, well, pret­ty hard to buy and to be en­gaged with, even if it is en­joy­able and most­ly re­fresh­ing to watch.


Ju-on: The Grudge (2002)

De­spite its frag­ment­ed, dif­fuse struc­ture and ob­vi­ous lack of a nar­ra­tive cen­ter, this com­pe­tent Japan­ese hor­ror movie man­ages to cre­ate an op­pres­sive at­mos­phere with an in­trigu­ing mys­tery that can be pret­ty dis­turb­ing some­times, even if some of it also falls flat.


The Judge (2014)

If it weren’t for the strong per­for­mances, there would be very lit­tle else to com­mend in this sen­ti­men­tal, in­ter­minable and pre­dictable pile of clichés com­plete with one-di­men­sion­al char­ac­ters, a ridicu­lous cin­e­matog­ra­phy and ex­pos­i­to­ry di­a­logue from be­gin­ning to end.


The Judge and the As­sas­sin (1976)

De­spite its promis­ing premise, so­phis­ti­cat­ed di­rec­tion and wit­ty sense of hu­mor, it is a pity that this frus­trat­ing film doesn’t know how to ex­plore its themes into some­thing more con­sis­tent and feels only bu­reau­crat­ic and out­dat­ed, with not enough to of­fer us in terms of nar­ra­tive.


Judg­ment at Nurem­berg (1961)

An al­ways fas­ci­nat­ing court­room dra­ma whose tru­ly in­dis­putable cin­e­mat­ic strength lies in many un­for­get­table per­for­mances from the en­tire cast and an ex­treme­ly com­plex, thought-pro­vok­ing script that nev­er ceas­es to ques­tion our per­cep­tions about the case and His­to­ry it­self.


Jug Face (2013)

Nev­er make a pact with a de­mon, fine we all know that, and this lit­tle hor­ror movie, de­spite a rather cu­ri­ous idea (the pit, es­pe­cial­ly), doesn’t have much to of­fer be­yond that and doesn’t work in any lev­el — not as a tense slow-burn nor as an creepy hill­bil­ly sect sto­ry.


Ju­lia (1977)

This de­cent film has a great cin­e­matog­ra­phy and knows how to build ten­sion in a scene that takes place in a train, but apart from that it didn’t de­serve most of the Os­car nom­i­na­tions and wins that it got and feels a bit un­clear about its pur­pose, reach­ing an an­ti­cli­mac­tic end­ing.


Julia’s Eyes (2010)

The stun­ning cin­e­matog­ra­phy cre­ates a per­fect op­pres­sive at­mos­phere in this thriller that grows re­al­ly tense and fright­en­ing, but the film is also weak­ened by poor nar­ra­tive choic­es, and if you think in ret­ro­spect you will see some plot holes. Be­sides, the lame last scene is un­for­giv­able.


Julie & Ju­lia (2009)

A flawed movie that wants to be two sto­ries in one but is not so well edit­ed to make every­thing flow nat­u­ral­ly. Even so, what rais­es this light com­e­dy above av­er­age is def­i­nite­ly Meryl Streep, who once again turns some­thing high­ly or­di­nary into a pleas­ant ex­pe­ri­ence.


Juli­et of the Spir­its (1965)

Fellini’s first film in col­or is this bril­liant LSD-in­fused satire that en­chants us with its gor­geous art di­rec­tion and col­or­ful cos­tumes, while us­ing a mag­nif­i­cent sym­bol­ism to de­pict the psy­che of a pas­sive woman who needs to break free from the bon­fire of her mar­ried-life mar­tyr­dom.


Juliet’s Band (2016)

I don’t see why this sto­ry was made into 48 min­utes of nar­ra­tive (too long for a short but too short for a fea­ture movie), since it has enough ma­te­r­i­al to fill up an ex­cel­lent long-length film — and the prob­lem here is ex­act­ly an abrupt and frus­trat­ing end­ing that doesn’t go any­where.


Juli­eta (2016)

I don’t know what is so rev­e­la­to­ry about what Juli­eta wants to tell her daugh­ter, all I know for sure is that this corny soap opera feels more like a cheap ex­cuse for Almod­ó­var to tell what­ev­er comes to his mind even if he doesn’t re­al­ly seem to have any­thing to say.


Ju­man­ji (1995)

The spe­cial ef­fects and make-up are atro­cious, and this ex­cru­ci­at­ing movie wants us to care about a sil­ly game that has noth­ing com­pelling or ad­ven­tur­ous about it and whose rules seem ridicu­lous­ly ar­bi­trary — and it all ends in an aw­ful­ly sen­ti­men­tal con­clu­sion.


The Jun­gle Book (1967)

In his de­sire to make a uni­ver­sal­ly well-re­ceived film, Walt Dis­ney de­cid­ed to play safe with this light-heart­ed and huge­ly en­ter­tain­ing de­light that would hard­ly not please every­one, with an ex­pres­sive an­i­ma­tion, great catchy songs and many adorable char­ac­ters.


The Jun­gle Book (2016)

The mag­nif­i­cent vi­su­al ef­fects seem to be the only thing that makes this new ver­sion worth watch­ing (de­spite the lame 3D), giv­en how every­thing else is so by the book (no pun in­tend­ed) and plays a bit too safe to be mem­o­rable — you will prob­a­bly for­get it right af­ter it is over.


Jupiter As­cend­ing (2015)

It gives good at­ten­tion to the de­tails of its uni­verse and has a stun­ning vi­su­al de­sign, but the plot is de­riv­a­tive, with an ex­cess of dei ex machi­na (the hand­some guy al­ways has to save the nar­row-mind­ed lady in dan­ger) and lame aliens who dis­play the same cul­tur­al habits as hu­mans.


Jupiter’s Moon (2017)

The fa­ther-son-like re­la­tion­ship that grows be­tween the two cen­tral char­ac­ters is forced and nev­er con­vinc­ing, and it is near­ly im­pos­si­ble to re­late to any­one in this ob­vi­ous al­le­go­ry that feels so much more rep­e­ti­tious and dull than in­spired or eye-open­ing as it clear­ly strives to be.


Juras­sic Park (1993)

A mod­ern clas­sic whose su­perb script is even more im­pres­sive than Spielberg’s ex­pert di­rec­tion and the jaw-drop­ping ef­fects to cre­ate the di­nosaurs — in­clud­ing sev­er­al scenes serv­ing mul­ti­ple func­tions and nar­ra­tive el­e­ments in­tro­duced that turn out to be es­sen­tial lat­er.


Juras­sic World (2015)

The vi­su­al ef­fects are as good as they can be — de­spite the asep­tic look of the es­tab­lish­ing shots of the park -, and this is an en­ter­tain­ing up­date of the di­nos to a new gen­er­a­tion even if it lacks the wow fac­tor and can’t match the orig­i­nal clas­sic in any way pos­si­ble.


Juras­sic World: Fall­en King­dom (2018)

More cyn­i­cal and ex­cit­ing than it has the right to be, this is a great se­quel that will make you jump and laugh in equal mea­sure and refuse to dis­ap­point you with its crazy amount of epic run-for-your-lives mo­ments and the way it wants to crit­i­cize the ugly bleak­ness of our times.


Just Like Broth­ers (2012)

A pleas­ant film that bal­ances light­ness, ten­der­ness and melan­choly with­out be­ing an ir­reg­u­lar ex­pe­ri­ence. The only prob­lem is that the three main char­ac­ters nev­er seem to ful­ly form the bond of friend­ship you ex­pect to see from the trip they are tak­ing to­geth­er.


Just Like Our Par­ents (2017)

Even though this weak and ex­treme­ly ir­reg­u­lar film does a few things right here and there, it is re­al­ly hard to over­look so many flaws, like the amount of clichés, the oc­ca­sion­al­ly cheesy di­a­logue and the poor char­ac­ter­i­za­tion of its char­ac­ters (and their mo­ti­va­tions).


Jus­tice (2004)

Adopt­ing a pure­ly ob­ser­va­tion­al ap­proach with­out even a nar­ra­tion or voice-over, di­rec­tor Maria Au­gus­ta Ramos lets us have a look at the Brazil­ian jus­tice sys­tem from a few dif­fer­ent an­gles and needs no ef­fort to ex­pose a great deal about the country’s abysmal so­cial in­equal­i­ty.


Jus­tice League (2017)

Avoid­ing most of the ir­ri­tat­ing solem­ni­ty of Bat­man vs Su­per­man, DC man­ages to find a sol­id bal­ance be­tween en­ter­tain­ing and fun­ny, with he­roes that earn our sym­pa­thy and an ex­cit­ing plot that knows how to bring them to­geth­er as a team, even if the vil­lain is rather ridicu­lous.


K (2015)

In its de­sire to be faith­ful to Kafka’s sto­ry, even as its set­ting is moved to In­ner Mon­go­lia, this pass­able adap­ta­tion man­ages to cap­ture the hi­lar­i­ous­ness of the plot’s sur­re­al bu­reau­cra­cy but is harmed by an un­wise choice to end as abrupt­ly as the in­com­plete nov­el.


Ka­boom (2010)

A dis­joint­ed film in which every­thing seems painful­ly ar­bi­trary and with no sense of pur­pose, suf­fer­ing from an un­fo­cused script, a clum­sy di­rec­tion and an ex­pos­i­to­ry last scene — and it isn’t fun­ny as a hip­ster com­e­dy nor in­trigu­ing enough as a mys­tery as it wants to be.


Kan­da­har (2001)

It is true that Makhmal­baf tends to re­peat him­self some­times (like with a re­dun­dant voice-over), but he casts a pow­er­ful look at a coun­try liv­ing un­der the rule of Tal­iban and dom­i­nat­ed by pover­ty and re­li­gious fun­da­men­tal­ism — which forced women into com­plete sub­ju­ga­tion.


Katzel­mach­er (1969)

One of Fassbinder’s first films is this cyn­i­cal sto­ry that, even though not re­mark­able, was al­ready an ear­ly in­di­ca­tion of his tal­ent as a film­mak­er — some­thing vis­i­ble in the way he com­bines the nat­u­ral­is­tic style of the Nou­velle Vague with a de­tached, Brecht­ian mode of act­ing.


Keep Go­ing (2018)

It is a very risky move to make Samuel so un­lik­able right away and then try to hu­man­ize him for the view­ers, but the abrupt shift is nev­er con­vinc­ing and the film feels com­plete­ly lost, drift­ing much like the char­ac­ters through forced sit­u­a­tions that don’t lead any­where.


Keep the Lights On (2012)

The kind of gay-themed dra­ma that is be­com­ing in­creas­ing­ly rare nowa­days: one that is bru­tal­ly hon­est and dev­as­tat­ing like real love can be when ru­ined by drug ad­dic­tion and by one person’s de­pen­dence on an­oth­er — which, if at first en­rag­ing, earns its place as the true core of the sto­ry.


Keep­er of Promis­es, or The Giv­en Word (1962)

Cul­tur­al­ly sig­nif­i­cant and so lucky to have been made pri­or to the Brazil­ian mil­i­tary dic­ta­tor­ship, this is a mas­ter­class in mise-en-scène and edit­ing (the first Brazil­ian film to be nom­i­nat­ed for the Os­cars), as well as a dar­ing look at blind faith, re­li­gious in­tol­er­ance and sen­sa­tion­al­ism.


Khar­toum (1966)

The tech­ni­cal as­pects are just de­cent for this sort of ma­jor pro­duc­tion that wants so much to be the next Lawrence of Ara­bia (take a look at the ir­reg­u­lar cin­e­matog­ra­phy in the night scenes), but this is an in­ter­est­ing epic with an ex­cel­lent script for those (like me) who love war strat­e­gy.


Kick-Ass (2010)

Aaron John­son is a very tal­ent­ed and charis­mat­ic young ac­tor, and his character’s adorable anti-charm, com­bined with the awe­some fight­ing skills of Chloe Moretz’s Hit-Girl and the film’s com­ic book style and bloody vi­o­lence, makes this an end­less­ly fun su­per­hero movie.


Kick-Ass 2 (2013)

By try­ing to com­bine an id­i­ot­ic slap­stick hu­mor and the graph­ic vi­o­lence that char­ac­ter­ized the first film, the re­sult is an ir­reg­u­lar se­quel that, even if some­times ex­cit­ing and able to make us laugh, is to­tal­ly un­nec­es­sary and nev­er on a par with that ex­cel­lent movie.


The Kid (1921)

Al­though I find un­nec­es­sary the dream se­quence near the end, this is a great 6-reel­er that finds the per­fect bal­ance be­tween fun­ny and touch­ing — and the high­light is sweet lit­tle co-star Jack­ie Coogan, who steals every scene he is in.


The Kid with a Bike (2011)

Al­though in­ter­est­ing at first, this dra­ma is a frus­trat­ing ef­fort that doesn’t seem to have much to say, while the char­ac­ters are not well con­struct­ed or de­vel­oped, the con­flicts seem ar­ti­fi­cial and, more an­noy­ing than any­thing else, the young pro­tag­o­nist is way too un­lik­able.


Kids (1995)

Like a car ac­ci­dent that you can’t avert your eyes from, this is an un­set­tling dis­play of so­ciopa­thy and delin­quen­cy on the part of a group of hate­ful, re­pel­lent teens, though it al­most works as a rel­e­vant so­cial com­men­tary on ado­les­cence and AIDS. I said al­most.


The Kids Are All Right (2010)

I don’t know why this film is la­beled a com­e­dy since it has noth­ing to laugh about. In fact, it is a pa­thet­ic lit­tle dra­ma that wants to make you feel lib­er­al ac­cept­ing a fam­i­ly of les­bians, but the char­ac­ters are poor­ly de­vel­oped, the con­flicts are ar­ti­fi­cial and clichéd, and the sto­ry lacks dra­mat­ic dri­ve.


Kids for Cash (2013)

An in­fu­ri­at­ing (and dev­as­tat­ing) doc­u­men­tary that shows how a de­spi­ca­ble judge was re­spon­si­ble for ru­in­ing the lives of thou­sands of teenagers and fam­i­lies in a shock­ing scan­dal that could have only tak­en place in a ju­di­cial sys­tem cor­rupt­ed by aber­ra­tions like for-prof­it pris­ons.


Kiki’s De­liv­ery Ser­vice (1989)

An av­er­age Miyaza­ki film that doesn’t de­vel­op so well its many el­e­ments into a co­he­sive nar­ra­tive as it should — like for ex­am­ple the character’s sud­den loss of pow­er and her in­abil­i­ty to make friends. The re­sult is amus­ing, even if not that sat­is­fy­ing.


Kill, Baby… Kill! (1966)

As a typ­i­cal Mario Bava film, it aged quite poor­ly and has a lot of plot holes; still, if what you are look­ing for is mood and at­mos­phere, this great­ly in­flu­en­tial ghost sto­ry has plen­ty of that to of­fer and looks awe­some with its sat­u­rat­ed col­ors, creepy sets and evoca­tive com­po­si­tions.


Kill List (2011)

A point­less and con­fus­ing mix of fam­i­ly dra­ma, hit­man thriller and gory hor­ror that lacks en­er­gy, ten­sion and is nev­er en­gag­ing, with so many plot holes, ter­ri­ble pac­ing and ugly jump cuts — and not even a creepy twist in the end (which makes no sense) saves it from be­ing a bore.


Kill the Mes­sen­ger (2014)

Af­ter an en­gag­ing first half that trusts our abil­i­ty to put to­geth­er the de­tails of this whole af­fair as we fol­low its char­ac­ter, this strong po­lit­i­cal dra­ma is sad­ly weak­ened by some an­noy­ing clichés, in­clud­ing that of him be­com­ing an “ob­sessed man who moves away from his fam­i­ly.”


Kill Your Dar­lings (2013)

A very en­gag­ing biopic, even more for those ac­quaint­ed with these Beat Gen­er­a­tion po­ets but not with this ear­ly event in their lives in­volv­ing a de­ci­sive mur­der — and Rad­cliffe and De­Haan shine with a sur­pris­ing chem­istry to­geth­er, lead­ing a great en­sem­ble cast.


Kill Your Friends (2015)

I liked this sto­ry a lot more when it was called Amer­i­can Psy­cho — come on, let’s face it, the com­par­i­son is in­evitable -, but still, even if it starts to be pre­dictable and lose gas af­ter halfway through, this is a de­cent, dark­ly hu­mored film cen­tered on a rot­ten char­ac­ter.


Killed the Fam­i­ly and Went to the Movies (1969)

In­cred­i­bly au­da­cious (yet also a bit ir­reg­u­lar) for the time it was made, Bressane’s clas­sic un­der­ground film is an in­tel­li­gent ex­per­i­men­ta­tion that uses a se­ries of dis­con­nect­ed scenes to draw a sharp and bleak por­trait of a des­per­ate so­ci­ety.


Killer Elite (2011)

With a a messy script full of ex­pos­i­to­ry di­a­logue, con­fus­ing mo­ti­va­tions and plot holes, this un­in­ter­est­ing and gener­ic movie is also only able to move for­ward by re­ly­ing on stu­pid char­ac­ters who are no more a killer elite than a bunch of in­com­pe­tent am­a­teurs.


Killer Joe (2011)

It is like the Coen broth­ers meet David Lynch in this de­praved, vi­cious and in­cred­i­bly grip­ping fes­ti­val of sadism that Fried­kin puts us through — a spec­tac­u­lar thriller that is both bru­tal and hi­lar­i­ous in a twist­ed way, like what he did in his fan­tas­tic Bug, also writ­ten by Tra­cy Letts.


Killer Klowns from Out­er Space (1988)

With more hits than miss­es, this amus­ing alien mon­ster movie looks great and does de­liv­er a lot of fun­ny mo­ments and all the goofy fun that is promised in the ti­tle — even though it can be very sil­ly at times, es­pe­cial­ly in its harm­less end­ing.


The Killing (1956)

Kubrick al­ready showed ear­ly signs of his ge­nius when he brought us this mas­ter­piece, an elab­o­rate heist thriller full of rich de­tails for its time, with a de­li­cious­ly wry di­a­logue and a sus­pense­ful plot that grows un­bear­ably tense un­til the very end.


The Killing Fields (1984)

With the film’s gut-wrench­ing first half de­vot­ed to de­pict­ing with grit­ty re­al­ism and a beau­ti­ful cin­e­matog­ra­phy the takeover of Cam­bo­dia by the Khmer Rouge, the sec­ond half re­lies on Ngor’s su­perb per­for­mance to show a man in an amaz­ing strug­gle to es­cape from hell.


Killing Them Soft­ly (2012)

An ex­treme­ly tense and bru­tal thriller that makes an in­tel­li­gent com­par­i­son be­tween the mafia and the Amer­i­can eco­nom­ic sys­tem, even though the anal­o­gy is also a bit heavy-hand­ed, and it ben­e­fits from a de­lib­er­ate pace and great per­for­mances from a sharp cast.


Kind Hearts and Coro­nets (1949)

Alec Guin­ness is fan­tas­tic play­ing eight dif­fer­ent char­ac­ters but it is Den­nis Price who shines in this wit­ty, de­light­ful British dark com­e­dy that proves so com­pelling show­ing the minu­ti­ae of the main character’s plan to elim­i­nate eight peo­ple in or­der to ob­tain a ti­tle.


The Kinder­garten Teacher (2014)

It has a cu­ri­ous premise, like a mod­ern ver­sion of Amadeus (only with po­et­ry, an un­ap­pre­ci­at­ed art form in our days, in lieu of mu­sic), fol­low­ing a mad­ly ob­sessed woman who ex­ploits a poor child to whom the gift of art comes so easy, but the film drags and feels a bit repet­i­tive at times.


King Arthur: Leg­end of the Sword (2017)

Guy Ritchie con­tin­ues to make over­styl­ized ver­sions of clas­sic sto­ries, only this one is a te­dious and de­riv­a­tive ac­tion movie that seems like a des­per­ate dis­play of viril­i­ty — let’s be hon­est, in­stead of a sword, it would have been more hon­est to just show Arthur wield­ing his pe­nis.


King Co­bra (2016)

Chris­t­ian Slater is re­al­ly good and com­pen­sates for some poor per­for­mances by oth­er ac­tors (es­pe­cial­ly Ali­cia Sil­ver­stone), and the film uses an in­ter­est­ing struc­ture (based on clever par­al­lels) to de­vel­op its char­ac­ters in a way that lets us grasp their mo­ti­va­tions.


A King in New York (1957)

A sat­is­fy­ing though un­even Chap­lin com­e­dy clear­ly en­vis­aged as a crit­i­cism on the Amer­i­can so­ci­ety and the ab­sur­di­ty of Mc­Carthy­ism. There are some mem­o­rable scenes, in­clud­ing a hi­lar­i­ous sur­prise din­ner, but also just as many less suc­cess­ful ones.


King Kong (1933)

Few im­ages can be as icon­ic in the his­to­ry of Cin­e­ma as King Kong on top of the Em­pire State build­ing fight­ing air­planes, and this is an en­ter­tain­ing clas­sic that should be re­mem­bered for those stop-mo­tion spe­cial ef­fects that were ab­solute­ly amaz­ing for the time it was made.


The King of Com­e­dy (1982)

An un­set­tling, un­der­rat­ed and for a very long time mis­un­der­stood Scors­ese film that ben­e­fits from ex­cel­lent per­for­mances by De Niro, Lewis and Bern­hard, and it is its cyn­i­cal end­ing that el­e­vates it to the lev­el of bril­liant satire about the pow­er of sen­sa­tion­al­ism in our times.


The King’s Speech (2010)

A fas­ci­nat­ing pe­ri­od dra­ma that will prob­a­bly please every­one (and find few de­trac­tors), with great di­a­logue and ex­quis­ite per­for­mances by Firth and Rush, who shine in their scenes to­geth­er and sell us the nat­ur­al re­la­tion­ship that grows be­tween the two char­ac­ters.


The Kings of Sum­mer (2013)

The kind of re­fresh­ing and fun­ny in­die dram­e­dy tai­lor-made to charm every­one at Sun­dance, with its share of in­die clichés and a di­rec­tor who seems very ea­ger to show that he can di­rect, and it is worth see­ing es­pe­cial­ly be­cause of Nick Of­fer­man and Moi­ses Arias, both hi­lar­i­ous.


Kings­man: The Se­cret Ser­vice (2014)

An ex­hil­a­rat­ing and sub­ver­sive homage to old spy movies that boasts a smart and huge­ly en­ter­tain­ing plot, a great cast (Jack­son is hi­lar­i­ous), a fab­u­lous pro­duc­tion and cos­tume de­sign, and a de­li­cious­ly styl­ized vi­o­lence that makes this the Kick-Ass of spy movies.


Kings­man: The Gold­en Cir­cle (2017)

It is ir­ri­tat­ing how it feels like the pro­duc­ers want to Amer­i­can­ize the fran­chise and make it more ac­ces­si­ble to its Amer­i­can au­di­ence, and even though the movie is rel­a­tive­ly amus­ing and has its ex­cit­ing mo­ments here and there, it lacks fo­cus and doesn’t have any struc­ture.


Kirik­ou and the Sor­cer­ess (1998)

An en­joy­able and sim­ple an­i­ma­tion with an hon­est moral les­son, though clear­ly made for very small chil­dren. It makes for a good time, es­pe­cial­ly in its sec­ond act, but the end­ing could have been bet­ter.


Kiss of the Spi­der Woman (1985)

It is re­mark­able how this film turned out to be so su­perb and pro­found de­spite all the many cuts and re-ed­its it went through in post-pro­duc­tion, sur­pris­ing us with its di­rec­tion, edit­ing and two ex­cep­tion­al cen­tral per­for­mances — es­pe­cial­ly William Hurt, who de­served the Os­car he won.


Knife+Heart (2018)

Al­though it may be ini­tial­ly fun to watch this trashy erot­ic thriller for its styl­ized vi­su­als and ex­ag­ger­at­ed act­ing (which makes it even in­ad­ver­tent­ly fun­ny at times), it un­folds like a Lu­cio Ful­ci gi­al­lo: de­void of ten­sion or con­sis­ten­cy, te­dious and seem­ing­ly lost about its own pur­pose.


Knight of Cups (2015)

Mal­ick seems to have be­come one of those old pals who love to tell the same sto­ry over and over in par­ties, and so he gives us this re­dun­dant, rep­e­ti­tious and, well, pre­ten­tious med­i­ta­tion that doesn’t even have the con­sis­ten­cy and beau­ty of The Tree of Life and To the Won­der.


Knocked Up (2007)

A good com­e­dy, fun­ny and sweet, whose first hour is so hi­lar­i­ous and raunchy it had me laugh­ing real hard. Af­ter that, how­ev­er, it be­comes a bit ir­reg­u­lar and stretch­es for too long, with some un­nec­es­sary and un­fun­ny jokes that could have been eas­i­ly left out.


Kon-Tiki (2012)

An en­gag­ing odyssey with a stun­ning cin­e­matog­ra­phy that uses an ap­pro­pri­ate­ly large depth of field to ex­plore the vast­ness of the high sea. Also, the char­ac­ters are com­plex and well de­fined in their mo­ti­va­tions, in a sto­ry that man­ages to be quite tense.


Kong: Skull Is­land (2017)

It is hard to care about any­thing in this vi­su­al­ly asep­tic (yet oc­ca­sion­al­ly en­joy­able) mon­ster movie whose CGI is so ar­ti­fi­cial that it feels like watch­ing some­one play video game — in­clud­ing an aw­ful ex­cess of lens flares and too much bor­ing ac­tion for very lit­tle sub­stance.


Koy­aanisqat­si (1982)

What makes this film so mes­mer­iz­ing is how it is es­sen­tial­ly struc­tured through vi­su­al par­al­lels and con­tin­u­ous rep­e­ti­tion (em­pha­sized by Philip Glass’s mu­sic) to bril­liant­ly il­lus­trate the me­chan­ics of our world as a fast-paced in­san­i­ty of peo­ple, cars, ex­press­ways, ma­chines and de­struc­tion.


Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

A pro­found­ly af­fect­ing fam­i­ly dra­ma in which every­thing con­spires for some­thing so per­fect that you must be dead if you are not moved, and it re­lies on a beau­ti­ful script that re­fus­es to take sides and on ex­cep­tion­al per­for­mances by Dustin Hoff­man, Meryl Streep and Justin Hen­ry.


Kram­pus (2015)

Michael Dougher­ty is no Joe Dante, and his at­tempt to mix hor­ror and com­e­dy is only un­scary and un­fun­ny — a per­func­to­ry, pre­dictable and unin­spired Christ­mas movie plagued with char­ac­ters so hate­ful that I want­ed Kram­pus to kill them all so that it would be fi­nal­ly over.


Kr­isha (2015)

I like how Shults makes us ex­pe­ri­ence the dis­com­fort felt by his pro­tag­o­nist us­ing a dis­so­nant mu­sic and long wide-an­gle shots, cre­at­ing a film that is so de­press­ing and hard to stom­ach that we even for­give him when it feels like he is pay­ing too much at­ten­tion to his own di­rec­tion.


Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)

With an­noy­ing char­ac­ters, a stu­pid pro­tag­o­nist and a messy plot that is more con­fus­ing than en­light­en­ing like it wants to be, this stun­ning stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion is pre­dictable, un­fun­ny and full of cheesy clichés that will please those who don’t mind a sto­ry with­out much imag­i­na­tion.


Kuma (2012)

Cen­tered on two women from a Turk­ish fam­i­ly liv­ing in Vi­en­na, this sen­si­tive and in­volv­ing dra­ma takes a care­ful time to let us un­der­stand them in­stead of judg­ing their ac­tions — thanks es­pe­cial­ly to Koldas and Akkaya, who per­fect­ly con­vey all the emo­tion need­ed for their roles.


Kung Fu Hus­tle (2004)

With an­oth­er fan­tas­tic com­bi­na­tion of mar­tial arts, non­sen­si­cal hu­mor and car­toon­ish spe­cial ef­fects, Stephen Chow’s fol­low-up to Shaolin Soc­cer may not be as in­ces­sant­ly hi­lar­i­ous as that film but is an amaz­ing en­ter­tain­ment for those who love great fight scenes and sur­pris­es.


Kursk (2018)

The film does a fine job in de­vel­op­ing its char­ac­ters (and the re­la­tion­ship be­tween them) and cre­at­ing a strong feel of claus­tro­pho­bia (es­pe­cial­ly with a tense long take that makes us hold our breath), but it also los­es fo­cus in its sec­ond half with un­nec­es­sary melo­dra­ma and not a real pay­off.


Kurt Cobain: Mon­tage of Heck (2015)

A com­pre­hen­sive doc­u­men­tary that com­bines a great amount of video and au­dio footage with gor­geous an­i­ma­tion and in­ter­views to cre­ate a pro­found­ly re­veal­ing char­ac­ter study, even if the fi­nal re­sult feels a bit too long and some things are left hang­ing — like, where is Dave Grohl?


La Bam­ba (1987)

A re­fresh­ing biopic about a short-lived star who met with a trag­ic death (trag­ic and also iron­ic con­sid­er­ing his fear of fly­ing and how his fate was de­cid­ed by the flip of a coin), and it is so en­gag­ing that it breaks our hearts even if we know from the get-go how every­thing ends.


La­bor Day (2013)

Where­as the first half may feel a tad un­con­vinc­ing and pre­dictable, with just too many clichés, it soon be­comes com­plex and gen­uine­ly touch­ing (al­ways ac­com­pa­nied by a beau­ti­ful score) — reach­ing an ef­fi­cient­ly tense third act that makes up for all the sap­pi­ness that came be­fore.


Labyrinth (1986)

A de­light­ful fan­ta­sy ad­ven­ture clear­ly in­spired by The Wiz­ard of Oz (the book ap­pears in at least two scenes) and fairy tales (even a poi­soned fruit is there), and its dat­ed vi­su­al ef­fects and cheesy mu­si­cal num­bers have a charm only found in these movies of the ‘80s.


Labyrinth of Lies (2014)

It has the bland and unin­spired aes­thet­ics of a film made for tele­vi­sion but at least un­der­stands well the com­plex­i­ty of its sub­ject mat­ter de­spite some typ­i­cal clichés of TV movies, like the pro­tag­o­nist giv­ing in to al­co­hol abuse and his in­com­pre­hen­si­ble de­ci­sion in the third act.


Lac­rimosa (1970)

Rauli­no is a di­rec­tor who fol­lows his own in­stincts, and there is some­thing quite ur­gent and des­per­ate in the way his silent cam­era moves and zooms, fran­tic and wild, ex­pos­ing a city’s pu­trid guts where “garbage is the only means of sur­vival.”


Ladies in Laven­der (2004)

It doesn’t take us any ef­fort to un­der­stand the gen­uine fas­ci­na­tion cre­at­ed by the mys­te­ri­ous and hand­some young man played by Daniel Brühl, but this un­re­mark­able British dra­ma is only worth it for the su­perb per­for­mances by Judi Dench and Mag­gie Smith.


The Ladies Man (1961)

When it isn’t fun­ny (which hap­pens quite fre­quent­ly, to be hon­est), at least it holds out at­ten­tion, but when it is, the film can make you laugh un­til you wet your pants (es­pe­cial­ly in a hi­lar­i­ous scene with Bud­dy Lester). Too bad it al­most gets lost in its un­even last half hour.


The Lady (2011)

Besson turns this real sto­ry into a con­ven­tion­al, un­der­whelm­ing movie and stretch­es it for­ev­er, but still Michelle Yeoh does her best to lend an aura of el­e­gance and hon­or to a char­ac­ter that ut­ters cheap sound­bites all the time to jus­ti­fy her poor­ly de­vel­oped ac­tions.


Lady and the Tramp (1955)

Make sure you watch the orig­i­nal Cin­e­maS­cope widescreen ver­sion of this great Dis­ney an­i­ma­tion and be charmed by its stun­ning, vivid col­ors, sweet songs, adorable char­ac­ters and that mem­o­rable spaghet­ti scene that con­veys all the ro­mance of the “love­ly bel­la notte.”


The Lady Eve (1941)

With a per­fect bal­ance be­tween farce, screw­ball, slap­stick, ro­mance and even sus­pense, this is a wit­ty com­e­dy that re­lies on a de­light­ful di­a­logue (which should be con­sid­ered one of the finest ever writ­ten) and a won­der­ful chem­istry be­tween Bar­bara Stan­wyck and Hen­ry Fon­da.


The Lady in the Van (2015)

The biggest prob­lem with this wit­less, ex­cru­ci­at­ing movie is that it feels al­most im­pos­si­ble to have any sym­pa­thy for such an odi­ous old lady (is she sup­posed to be adorable in her an­noy­ing ec­cen­tric­i­ty? I can’t tell), and I couldn’t wait to see her die so it would be fi­nal­ly over.


Lady Jane (2008)

This French crime dra­ma be­gins promis­ing but lacks enough strength in the de­vel­op­ment of its premise, as it sim­ply comes down to an or­di­nary mes­sage about re­venge lead­ing to more re­venge, but still the plot has a good at­mos­phere of mys­tery and some nice twists.


Lady Mac­beth (2016)

Flo­rence Pugh is a rev­e­la­tion, de­liv­er­ing an as­ton­ish­ing per­for­mance in this tense, slow-burn­ing pe­ri­od dra­ma about a woman com­pelled by dark cir­cum­stances to act in ques­tion­able ways in or­der to sur­vive an op­pres­sive en­vi­ron­ment that would eas­i­ly crush her oth­er­wise.


The Lady Van­ish­es (1938)

An en­joy­able but over­rat­ed film that wants so much to be fun­ny (and make fun of British peo­ple who think only about their own prob­lems) that it doesn’t have any ten­sion, with a plot that, even with a cu­ri­ous premise, is just too con­trived to be tak­en se­ri­ous­ly.


La­gaan: Once Upon a Time in In­dia (2001)

An en­ter­tain­ing movie about the im­por­tance of not ac­cept­ing de­feat when in face of the tough­est ob­sta­cles and how we should do every­thing in our pow­er to suc­ceed, with faith and courage — and it even finds space to dis­cuss mat­ters like prej­u­dice along the way.


Lake Mun­go (2008)

As far as hor­ror mock­u­men­taries go, this is a bleak and very well-made study of loss and grief that may not be as scary as it is spooky but builds a com­pelling mys­tery as fam­i­ly se­crets are ex­posed and we be­gin to re­al­ize that things are not ex­act­ly what they seem to be.


Land of Mine (2015)

The film is grip­ping and tense enough to com­pen­sate for the main character’s prob­lems in char­ac­ter­i­za­tion — es­pe­cial­ly his abrupt change in be­hav­ior to­wards the Ger­man boys, which comes off as forced and heavy-hand­ed -, and it also ben­e­fits from a strong end­ing.


Land of Obliv­ion (2011)

This grip­ping re­count­ing of a real tragedy ben­e­fits from a grad­ual sense of dan­ger in its first half and the ac­tu­al lo­ca­tion of the ghost town of Pryp­i­at in the sec­ond. Even so, the film doesn’t man­age so well to gen­er­ate em­pa­thy due to its un­in­ter­est­ing char­ac­ters.


Land of São Saruê (1971)

By ap­proach­ing what it ex­pos­es with both a clin­i­cal eye (al­most like a sci­en­tif­ic ar­ti­cle) and a po­et­ic lens, this poignant doc­u­men­tary is a de­fin­i­tive the­sis on pover­ty in the North­east of Brazil and the un­just ex­ploita­tion of mis­er­able peo­ple liv­ing in a land of rich­ness.


Land of Si­lence and Dark­ness (1971)

Her­zog cre­ates a sad and mov­ing doc­u­men­tary that touch­es us by of­fer­ing a glimpse of what it must be like to be locked in­side a deaf-blind body (since we can nev­er know ex­act­ly how it feels like) and to find it so hard to com­mu­ni­cate with oth­er peo­ple and the world around.


Land of the Dead (2005)

An un­nec­es­sary fourth en­try in the zom­bie tril­o­gy even if it of­fers an­oth­er in­ter­est­ing so­cial com­men­tary. With poor­ly-writ­ten di­a­logue and char­ac­ters we nev­er care about, this film will prob­a­bly please those more in­ter­est­ed in new ways of slaugh­ter and blood spew­ing.


Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

This won­der­ful film could have so eas­i­ly been made into a sil­ly com­e­dy but is for­tu­nate­ly in­stead a bit­ter­sweet dra­ma that re­lies on a cap­ti­vat­ing per­for­mance by the al­ways tal­ent­ed Ryan Gosling, who gives life to a sen­si­tive char­ac­ter that nev­er seems less than real.


The Last Air­ben­der (2010)

It is no sur­prise that af­ter two atroc­i­ties Shya­malan couldn’t make some­thing su­pe­ri­or, and so, by try­ing to com­prise an en­tire sea­son of the Nick­elodeon an­i­mat­ed se­ries into one sin­gle movie, he cre­ates an in­com­pre­hen­si­ble nar­ra­tive with pedes­tri­an di­a­logue and aw­ful act­ing.


Last Chants for a Slow Dance (1977)

As im­per­fect as this low-bud­get dra­ma is, with its sound de­fects, ram­bling mo­ments and lack of bet­ter co­he­sion, it also im­press­es for be­ing a se­ries of large­ly-im­pro­vised, long-take scenes that de­lin­eate at each turn its character’s state of mind and drift­ing ex­is­tence.


Last Con­ver­sa­tions (2015)

Fol­low­ing As Canções as an­oth­er sim­ple doc­u­men­tary cen­tered on in­ter­views with com­mon peo­ple (this time teenage stu­dents), Coutinho’s posthu­mous film (edit­ed af­ter his trag­ic death) turns out to be sub­tly re­veal­ing as well in the way it ex­pos­es so­cial in­equal­i­ty in Brazil.


Last Days (2005)

If Van Sant’s in­ten­tion was to de­pict Kurt Cobain’s last days as te­dious and de­void of mean­ing as pos­si­ble, he sure­ly achieved what he want­ed, but his biggest pre­sump­tion was to be­lieve that the view­ers would fall for this in­suf­fer­ably bor­ing, self-in­dul­gent joke.


The Last Ex­or­cism (2010)

A com­pe­tent mock­u­men­tary that em­ploys a pre­cise pace to fol­low a char­la­tan Rev­erend who ex­ploits peo­ple for mon­ey un­til he en­coun­ters more than he bar­gained for. Suf­fice to say that it grows re­al­ly ter­ri­fy­ing, but the edit­ing is flawed like most pro­duc­tions of the kind.


The Last Ex­or­cism Part II (2013)

De­spite the de­lib­er­ate pac­ing that helps build ten­sion, here is an­oth­er se­quel (to a good hor­ror movie) that drops the sub­jec­tive cam­era for no rea­son along with its main rea­son to ex­ist — and it is hard not to be in­fu­ri­at­ed by its stu­pid, in­con­clu­sive end­ing.


The Last Face (2016)

The jumps in time pre­vent us from get­ting clos­er to its char­ac­ters, and it is easy to un­der­stand why so many peo­ple hat­ed this film when we see a cheesy love sto­ry be­tween a white cou­ple made more im­por­tant than what there is to say about the hor­rors that hap­pen in Africa.


The Last House on the Left (1972)

Ex­ploita­tion is sup­posed to be fun, but there is no fun here un­less you get off on see­ing vile scenes of rape and bru­tal­i­ty, and the movie is so trashy and tonal­ly aw­ful that it be­comes bizarre the way it com­bines all that ugly vi­o­lence with a ridicu­lous, child­ish sense of hu­mor.


Last Men in Alep­po (2017)

The sight of the wrecked city and those dead chil­dren is dev­as­tat­ing enough to leave us shak­en, and the film, de­spite a cer­tain ques­tion­able pre­cios­i­ty, al­most makes us feel like we are there next to those men risk­ing their own lives to res­cue peo­ple from un­der the rub­ble.


The Last Metro (1980)

While the film is al­ways en­gag­ing and does a great job show­ing the ca­ma­raderie that grows in the con­text of a the­atre pro­duc­tion (even in hard times), it is a shame that the love in­ter­est be­tween Deneuve and Depardieu’s char­ac­ters does not trans­late well to the screen and feels forced.


Last Night (2010)

An hon­est though unim­pres­sive movie with de­cent per­for­mances, es­pe­cial­ly Keira Knight­ley, who shines in this sto­ry of doubt, de­sire and be­tray­al. Still, it is too bad that af­ter nine­ty min­utes of slow build-up it sim­ply doesn’t of­fer a real pay-off.


The Last Samu­rai (2003)

I will nev­er re­al­ly un­der­stand why this pow­er­ful epic is so gen­er­al­ly over­looked and un­der­rat­ed, when in fact it should be re­gard­ed as an ex­tra­or­di­nary mas­ter­piece about hon­or, love, loy­al­ty and re­demp­tion, beau­ti­ful­ly pho­tographed, great­ly act­ed and with a gor­geous score.


The Last Se­duc­tion (1994)

An ef­fi­cient film noir with a clever plot and an ex­treme­ly di­a­bol­i­cal femme fa­tale played by a very in­spired Lin­da Fiorenti­no. Also de­serv­ing praise is Bill Pull­man, who is sur­pris­ing­ly fun­ny as the fu­ri­ous hus­band try­ing to catch her in this wit­ty cat-and-mouse game.


Last Shift (2014)

It may be hard to be­lieve that Harkavy’s char­ac­ter wouldn’t just leave the po­lice sta­tion un­der such hor­rif­ic cir­cum­stances, but the ac­tress does a great job sell­ing us her strong per­se­ver­ance in a high­ly creepy, low-bud­get hor­ror film that of­fers some very dis­turb­ing mo­ments.


Last Year at Marien­bad (1961)

A mes­mer­iz­ing film that im­press­es for Resnais’ ex­cep­tion­al di­rec­tion as he cre­ates an enig­mat­ic dream­like ex­pe­ri­ence that blends mem­o­ry and re­al­i­ty through its unique use of edit­ing and keeps us al­ways in doubt whether what we are wit­ness­ing is the prod­uct of someone’s mind.


Lau­ra (1944)

A good who­dunit noir that, de­spite a plot weak­ened by con­trivances (the worst be­ing the de­tec­tive falling in love with a dead woman’s por­trait), is mem­o­rable most­ly be­cause of David Raksin’s score and the film’s great di­a­logue (with Clifton Webb, fan­tas­tic, get­ting the most cyn­i­cal, price­less lines).


Lau­rence Any­ways (2012)

Dolan’s first mis­step in his so far promis­ing ca­reer, and it is true that he had shown be­fore a pen­chant for over-styl­iza­tion but now he seems to think he is fab­u­lous enough to come up with this in­cred­i­bly pre­ten­tious, self-in­dul­gent, ar­ti­fi­cial and ex­as­per­at­ing ex­er­cise of style over sub­stance.


Law­less (2012)

Hill­coat and Nick Cave work to­geth­er again to bring us this sen­sa­tion­al gang­ster epic that packs an ex­treme­ly in­tense and bru­tal punch with none of the ro­man­ti­cism ex­pect­ed from this kind of film — and it boasts some ter­rif­ic per­for­mances and a stun­ning pro­duc­tion de­sign.


Lawrence of Ara­bia (1962)

A splen­dorous epic re­stored to near per­fec­tion, run­ning now for al­most four hours of mag­nif­i­cent vi­su­als and fan­tas­tic di­a­logue, and it of­fers us both O’Toole and Sharif in su­perb per­for­mances — es­pe­cial­ly the for­mer as a com­plex, con­tra­dic­to­ry man in a jour­ney from ec­cen­tric sol­dier to mad ex­hi­bi­tion­ist.


Lean on Pete (2017)

Steer­ing away from any pos­si­ble at­tempt at sen­ti­men­tal­i­ty, this is an al­ways ma­ture and down-to-earth com­ing-of-age dra­ma that re­lies on an im­pres­sive per­for­mance by Char­lie Plum­mer to tell us the heart­break­ing hard­ships en­dured by a poor young man in an un­for­giv­ing coun­try.


Leave No Trace (2018)

Al­most like a heart­warm­ing an­swer to the bleak bru­tal­i­ty of Winter’s Bone, here is a del­i­cate and touch­ing daugh­ter-fa­ther dra­ma whose main strength comes from the com­plex­i­ty of its char­ac­ters, who be­have like real-life peo­ple do and are bril­liant­ly played by Thomasin McKen­zie and Ben Fos­ter.


Leaves of Grass (2009)

A pseu­do-philo­soph­i­cal com­e­dy that be­gins well but then dives into sheer stu­pid­i­ty af­ter the first forty min­utes. Even if Ed­ward Nor­ton is great play­ing twin broth­ers, the plot seems ab­solute­ly point­less, shift­ing with no tact from light com­e­dy to overvi­o­lent thriller and cheap melo­dra­ma.


Leaves Out of the Book of Sa­tan (1920)

Dreyer’s third film, his cin­e­mat­ic break­through, is over­long, a bit pro­sa­ic and doesn’t of­fer much in terms of nar­ra­tive, but his stel­lar mise-en-scène and George Schnéevoigt’s cin­e­matog­ra­phy make every stun­ning shot wor­thy of be­ing framed and put on a wall in any mu­se­um.


Leav­ing Las Ve­gas (1995)

An aw­ful­ly bleak and de­press­ing dra­ma that doesn’t of­fer us any door or way in to con­nect with a de­plorable al­co­holic who only wants to die and a pitiable pros­ti­tute in need of his love — and her in­ter­view scenes are just in­tru­sive, un­nec­es­sary and heavy-hand­ed like most of the script.


Leav­ing Nev­er­land (2019)

The ra­bid fans can shut their eyes to re­al­i­ty and bark as loud as they want, but they have to be re­al­ly fa­nat­ic to sim­ply dis­miss the claims made by these two men and how their ex­pe­ri­ence with Michael Jack­son af­fect­ed them — and all those around them — for the rest of their lives.


Lebanon (2009)

A suf­fo­cat­ing and com­plex war movie shot en­tire­ly in a tank to de­pict the per­son­al im­pact of a con­flict and cen­tered on four Is­raeli sol­diers with­in the ve­hi­cle mov­ing across an in­vad­ed land — iso­lat­ed from the chaos out­side but able to see every­thing through the gun-sight.


Leg­end (2015)

Tom Hardy is the main (or in fact only) rea­son for you to see this film, play­ing twin broth­ers and steal­ing the scene es­pe­cial­ly as the in­sane, dan­ger­ous and hi­lar­i­ous­ly bizarre Ron­nie Kray, but as a biopic it is flawed and con­ven­tion­al like many oth­er gang­ster movies alike.


The Leg­end of Hell House (1973)

An in­ter­est­ing haunt­ed house movie that in­vests in a gloomy at­mos­phere like a psy­cho­log­i­cal hor­ror film and ben­e­fits great­ly from a chill­ing art di­rec­tion and cin­e­matog­ra­phy, al­though it isn’t ex­act­ly scary nor mem­o­rable as a nar­ra­tive.


The Leg­end of 1900 (1998)

With­out any struc­ture, fo­cus or even nar­ra­tive pur­pose, still the biggest prob­lem with this dis­as­trous (and over­long) mess of a film is how the per­son­al­i­ty of its ti­tle char­ac­ter (who re­mains an ir­ri­tat­ing sketch) and his forced friend­ship with the pro­tag­o­nist are so poor­ly de­vel­oped.


The Lego Movie (2014)

What makes this film re­al­ly spe­cial is not only the fact that it is enor­mous­ly hi­lar­i­ous and fun for all ages, with an awe­some CGI that looks so flu­id and real, but main­ly be­cause it is a true ode to cre­ativ­i­ty and imag­i­na­tion, and what makes us spe­cial in our own way.


Lemon­ade (2016)

It looks gor­geous and the mu­sic is great, but the best thing in this con­cep­tu­al “vi­su­al al­bum” is see­ing how Be­y­on­cé re­veals so much about her­self in such an ex­per­i­men­tal, artis­tic way, even if some­times it seems like she is throw­ing a lot of dif­fer­ent el­e­ments of her life to­geth­er.


The Leop­ard (1963)

Visconti’s leisure­ly paced three-hour epic is a deeply sad and nos­tal­gic med­i­ta­tion on mor­tal­i­ty and the pass­ing of an era. A sump­tu­ous dra­ma rich in nu­ances, with beau­ti­ful per­for­mances (es­pe­cial­ly Burt Lan­cast­er) and an un­for­get­table ex­tend­ed ball­room scene in the end.


Less Than Zero (1987)

At first the un­lik­able char­ac­ters keep us from re­lat­ing to the sto­ry but Kanievs­ka man­ages the feat of mak­ing them all sym­pa­thet­ic lat­er, in a dev­as­tat­ing por­tray­al of drug ad­dic­tion with a great sound­track and two ter­rif­ic per­for­mances by Robert Downey Jr. and James Spad­er.


Leto (2018)

With a gor­geous black-and-white cin­e­matog­ra­phy and mu­si­cal se­quences full of en­er­gy to il­lus­trate de­sires and feel­ings that the char­ac­ters can­not ex­act­ly ex­press, this is a sub­lime film that re­fus­es easy con­flicts and be­comes even bet­ter when fo­cus­ing on how Vik­tor and Mayk see their art.


Leviathan (2014)

Set in a gloomy, op­pres­sive lo­ca­tion in North­ern Rus­sia, this is an un­com­fort­able dra­ma of tremen­dous irony about a Job-like char­ac­ter who is forced to face the hypocrisy of con­ser­vatism in a law­less town where free­dom and jus­tice are only for the God-fear­ing right­eous.


Life (2015)

An in­suf­fer­able spec­i­men of tabloid movie that is more con­cerned with be­ing a who’s-who of celebri­ties in 1955 in­stead of at least en­gag­ing as a nar­ra­tive, and its fail­ure can be at­trib­uted main­ly to Pat­tin­son (ter­ri­ble) and De­Haan, who is com­plete­ly mis­cast as James Dean.


Life (2017)

Filled with aw­ful di­a­logue and com­plete­ly de­void of ten­sion, this cheap copy of Alien is a waste of time that has noth­ing to of­fer but an in­cred­i­ble amount of stu­pid char­ac­ters mak­ing dumb de­ci­sions and be­ing just a bunch of ran­dom faces to be chased by a stu­pid crea­ture in a space­ship.


Life, and Noth­ing More… (1992)

Kiarosta­mi blurs once again the line that sep­a­rates re­al­i­ty and fic­tion, this time even mak­ing a ref­er­ence to one of his pre­vi­ous films to of­fer us a del­i­cate, com­pelling look at how peo­ple can move on with their lives and even help each oth­er in the face of a ter­ri­ble real tragedy.


Life, An­i­mat­ed (2016)

A fas­ci­nat­ing sto­ry full of love and gen­eros­i­ty about a young autis­tic man who learned how to ex­press his feel­ings and open up to the world through Dis­ney an­i­mat­ed movies — and even if it could have gone deep­er into his con­di­tion, the film can be ex­treme­ly mov­ing some­times.


Life It­self (2014)

A beau­ti­ful trib­ute to a bril­liant writer and in­spir­ing man who was one of the most in­flu­en­tial movie crit­ics of all time, show­ing us his in­dis­putable im­por­tance for the Sev­enth Art, his ge­nius and flaws, and his touch­ing fight with can­cer, all in a very hon­est, un­sen­ti­men­tal way.


Life of Pi (2012)

Tech­ni­cal­ly im­pres­sive and with as­ton­ish­ing vi­su­als (de­spite the poor 3D), this is a mag­nif­i­cent and emo­tion­al­ly in­tense al­le­go­ry that uses a lot of sym­bol­ism to raise ques­tions about God, faith and how some­times we can be forced to face our in­ner beasts. A won­der­ful film of rare beau­ty, to be seen many times.


Life Stinks (1991)

An un­der­rat­ed Mel Brooks com­e­dy that ben­e­fits from fun­ny sit­u­a­tions and great per­for­mances (es­pe­cial­ly Brooks and War­ren, who steals the show every time she ap­pears), dis­ap­point­ing only for com­ing up with a sil­ly and im­plau­si­ble con­clu­sion for the character’s prob­lems.


Lifeboat (1944)

An en­gag­ing cham­ber movie in which all ac­tion takes place in­side a lifeboat, im­press­ing us most with its tech­ni­cal achieve­ment (if there was any doubt about Hitchcock’s di­rect­ing skills be­fore it, this film cer­tain­ly re­moved it) and Tal­lu­lah Bankhead stand­ing out in a great cast.


The Light Be­tween Oceans (2016)

Cian­france has be­come an “ex­pert” in corny melo­dra­mas, and this is like a shame­less te­len­ov­ela that suf­fers even more from the fact that there is no chem­istry be­tween the two bland leads and noth­ing in there to make us feel any sym­pa­thy for a cou­ple of baby kid­nap­pers.


Lights Out (2016)

A de­cent hor­ror movie that has its spooky mo­ments (es­pe­cial­ly for those who are afraid of the dark) and works well enough to com­pen­sate for its clichés (such as the lu­di­crous de­tails about Diana’s past, which made me laugh) and the fact that it can be too safe some­times.


Like Crazy (2011)

The leads are very tal­ent­ed even if not so charis­mat­ic (and they don’t have a lot of chem­istry to­geth­er), but this is com­pen­sat­ed by a ma­ture sto­ry told with a lot of con­vic­tion and made even more sin­cere by its dy­nam­ic edit­ing that shows well the pow­er of time in a re­la­tion­ship.


Like Fa­ther, Like Son (2013)

Ko­ree­da brings a great deal of his usu­al del­i­ca­cy and sen­si­bil­i­ty to a sto­ry that doesn’t of­fer easy an­swers, even if — giv­en the com­plex na­ture of the sub­ject in it­self — it feels like it doesn’t go as deep as it could into its themes and re­mains a bit more re­dun­dant than in­sight­ful.


Like Me (2017)

De­spite be­ing vi­su­al­ly stun­ning and en­tranc­ing­ly melan­choly with some very in­ter­est­ing ideas in which to an­chor its styl­ized aes­thet­ics, the film sad­ly gets lost af­ter a while when it starts to lose fo­cus and di­gress to­ward an an­ti­cli­mac­tic (yet un­de­ni­ably co­her­ent) con­clu­sion.


Like Some­one in Love (2012)

Kiarosta­mi is off to a won­der­ful start in the first act, dis­play­ing a very re­fined di­rec­tion, el­e­gant cam­era move­ments and smart sto­ry­telling. Still, it is hard to see where he wants to go with this af­ter the two char­ac­ters meet, lack­ing a clear di­rec­tion or pur­pose.


Like Stars on Earth (2007)

An ex­tra­or­di­nary and mag­i­cal film that should open the eyes of more and more peo­ple to a se­ri­ous de­vel­op­men­tal dis­or­der and the pain caused to many chil­dren who suf­fer from it — and it shows how some­times it takes one per­son to care and make a dif­fer­ence in someone’s life.


Lili Mar­leen (1981)

One may won­der why Fass­binder de­cid­ed to in­dulge him­self in an unim­pres­sive, seem­ing­ly un­der­de­vel­oped Hol­ly­wood-like movie made only for en­ter­tain­ment, and it los­es its way in the last act to the point of even in­clud­ing a com­plete­ly point­less self-ref­er­ence.


Lilt­ing (2014)

Whishaw and Cheng are great in this touch­ing sto­ry of grief, lan­guage bar­ri­ers and even the dif­fer­ences that are brought to light when peo­ple fi­nal­ly un­der­stand each oth­er — which gives rise to some very hu­mor­ous mo­ments -, al­though it also avoids go­ing deep­er in its emo­tions.


Lilya 4-ever (2002)

A trag­ic and dev­as­tat­ing film that should make us aware of some­thing hor­rif­ic that hap­pens to so many teenage girls in East­ern Eu­rope, and if you de­cide to watch it with­out know­ing any­thing about it, it may per­haps be an even more shock­ing and com­pelling ex­pe­ri­ence.


The Lime­house Golem (2016)

I did en­joy the de­light­ful di­a­logue and sol­id per­for­mances, but this Vic­to­ri­an-era de­tec­tive sto­ry tries so hard to be smart and sur­pris­ing (with an “un­ex­pect­ed” big twist in the end) that it doesn’t re­al­ize how pre­dictable it is in its baf­fling stu­pid­i­ty.


Lime­light (1952)

A deeply heart­felt sto­ry that doesn’t need too much ef­fort to make us feel for and care about the gen­uine con­nec­tion that grows be­tween the two cen­tral char­ac­ters. Be­sides, it is more than a plea­sure to see Chap­lin and Buster Keaton shar­ing the fi­nal act to­geth­er.


Lim­ite (1931)

Con­sid­ered by many as the Brazil­ian Un Chien An­dalou, this po­et­ic clas­sic may be quite self-in­dul­gent and rep­e­ti­tious, but is also a huge­ly in­no­v­a­tive film in terms of cin­e­matog­ra­phy and edit­ing for the time it was made, with so many evoca­tive shots that linger in the mem­o­ry.


Lim­it­less (2011)

An en­ter­tain­ing movie that you eas­i­ly for­get af­ter see­ing and whose cu­ri­ous premise runs out of steam too quick­ly, but this is com­pen­sat­ed at least by a charm­ing and charis­mat­ic Bradley Coop­er who keeps you in­ter­est­ed long af­ter you had stopped car­ing about the sto­ry.


Lin­coln (2012)

This pa­thet­ic melo­dra­ma is al­ways more in­ter­est­ing when fo­cus­ing on the pol­i­tics in­volved but a very schmaltzy “life les­son” when­ev­er Lin­coln ap­pears — shown as a wise and myth­i­cal sto­ry­teller of pure heart (but fine with brib­ing, of course), nev­er a com­plex real man.


The Lin­coln Lawyer (2011)

This en­ter­tain­ing crime thriller is not very orig­i­nal but doesn’t dis­ap­point ei­ther, as it of­fers a pret­ty in­ter­est­ing plot with its typ­i­cal, ex­pect­ed twists and some good per­for­mances — ex­cept, of course, Ryan Phillippe, who is mediocre and in­ex­pres­sive as usu­al.


A Lin­guagem da Per­suasão (1970)

Too brief and su­per­fi­cial, but great to show in the first class of an in­tro­duc­to­ry course to com­mu­ni­ca­tion stud­ies.


Li­ons Love (1969)

Var­da seems to be try­ing to make an im­pro­vi­sa­tion­al meta-Warhol ex­per­i­ment or per­haps a hip­pie homage to Hol­ly­wood (who knows?), but the re­sult, de­spite mild­ly pleas­ant, is in fact a bit pre­ten­tious, and the main trio be­come pret­ty an­noy­ing and dull af­ter a while.


Liq­uid Truth (2017)

The fram­ings are pret­ty weird, usu­al­ly slic­ing the char­ac­ters’ faces off on top, while the end­ing is too abrupt, but I like how the film’s am­bi­gu­i­ty brings the main fo­cus here to how quick­ly and eas­i­ly an ac­cu­sa­tion can es­ca­late into a witch hunt in times of Face­book and Twit­ter.


Lit­tle Ash­es (2008)

A dis­ap­point­ing ef­fort that doesn’t de­vel­op well the per­son­al­i­ties of its three main char­ac­ters and is un­able to make us see what Lor­ca could pos­si­bly find so at­trac­tive in Pattinson’s Dalí. Be­sides, it suf­fers from ir­reg­u­lar per­for­mances and some cheesy, em­bar­rass­ing mo­ments.


Lit­tle Athens (2005)

Lit­tle Athens brings to­geth­er in a sin­gle in­de­pen­dent film more than a dozen young rais­ing stars and has a great in­die sound­track, but is no more than an or­di­nary, un­re­mark­able sto­ry about young­sters deal­ing with sex and drugs.


A Lit­tle Chaos (2014)

Winslet and Rick­man do sell their im­plau­si­ble scene to­geth­er in the gar­den, but this mediocre — and awk­ward — lit­tle melo­dra­ma is cen­tered on an un­con­vinc­ing ro­mance and is not ashamed to use a ridicu­lous “flash­back at­tack” in the end to solve the character’s prob­lems.


The Lit­tle Drum­mer Girl (1984)

What I liked most in this sol­id, un­der­rat­ed thriller was the whole com­plex­i­ty of its sit­u­a­tions, al­liances and strate­gies as seen through the eyes of a naive ac­tress caught in the mid­dle of a con­flict and fol­low­ing her heart in­stead of any po­lit­i­cal con­vic­tions.


Lit­tle Eng­land (2013)

Over­long and a tad over­baked, this Greek pe­ri­od dra­ma has an alarm­ing ten­den­cy to ex­po­si­tion and cheesi­ness — es­pe­cial­ly with those pseu­do-po­et­ic lines ut­tered now and again by the char­ac­ters -, but the beau­ti­ful cin­e­matog­ra­phy and strong per­for­mances com­pen­sate.


The Lit­tle Mer­maid (1989)

The best film of the stu­dio in more than twen­ty years and an ex­cel­lent re­turn to the gold­en age of fairy tale clas­sics, with won­der­ful songs, a de­light­ful an­i­ma­tion and a won­der­ful­ly-writ­ten sto­ry that set a new stan­dard to be fol­lowed by the stu­dio in the next decade.


Lit­tle Odessa (1994)

With an un­re­lat­able psy­chopath at its cen­ter and only the strong per­for­mances to com­mend, es­pe­cial­ly from Tim Roth and Max­i­m­il­ian Schell, this is a failed com­bi­na­tion of fam­i­ly dra­ma and crime thriller that falls flat as both, seem­ing point­less and emp­ty in its poor at­tempt at say­ing some­thing.


The Lit­tle Prince (1974)

A beau­ti­ful mu­si­cal adap­ta­tion that cap­tures the essence and soul of Saint-Exupery’s clas­sic book, even if the sight of ac­tors play­ing an­i­mals must feel strange for some, and ben­e­fits from gor­geous vi­su­als and fan­tas­tic per­for­mances — es­pe­cial­ly by the young Steven Warn­er.


The Lit­tle Prince (2015)

The an­i­ma­tion is stun­ning, but the plot (whose ti­tle is mis­lead­ing even if it does a great job rein­ter­pret­ing the sto­ry in a new con­text) feels a bit all over the place in its sec­ond act (with a clear lack of co­he­sion be­tween the two sto­ry­lines) and has prob­lems such as the mother’s ab­surd­ly in­co­her­ent be­hav­ior in the end.


Lit­tle White Lies (2010)

With a first-rate cast and a great sound­track, this is a warm and fun­ny movie that al­ready be­gins with an im­pres­sive long take, and al­though it has a maudlin con­clu­sion that al­most ru­ins it, it is cen­tered on a group of char­ac­ters who are flawed and en­tire­ly hu­man — like they should be.


Livid (2011)

What is the point of try­ing to make heads or tails of any­thing here or even look­ing for any sense if it is clear that the di­rec­tors are only think­ing about aes­thet­ics and cre­at­ing gor­geous set pieces? Be­sides, the film is com­plete­ly un­scary and just a pile of ridicu­lous clichés.


A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971)

It doesn’t take a ge­nius to see that the stu­pid twist in the end doesn’t make any sense af­ter all that came be­fore, and this trashy, non­sen­si­cal gi­al­lo is even more ex­cru­ci­at­ing with its in­ept di­rec­tion, ugly zooms, hideous trem­bling cam­era, cheesy mu­sic and ter­ri­ble act­ing from every­one.


Locke (2013)

A strong char­ac­ter study with a fan­tas­tic per­for­mance by Tom Hardy, de­spite its ex­cess of ex­po­si­tion and a di­rec­tor who doesn’t seem to trust his own ca­pac­i­ty to keep us in­volved with a min­i­mal­ist sto­ry and so tries every­thing to cre­ate a sense of move­ment with his rest­less cam­era.


Loft (2008)

In its in­sis­tence on be­ing smart and sur­pris­ing — which this ef­fi­cient thriller is for the most part — it also comes off as a bit con­trived and over the top like a Mel­rose Place-like soap opera, di­rect­ed and edit­ed as a tele­film and with a di­a­logue that sounds at times pret­ty ex­pos­i­to­ry.


Lo­gan (2017)

Hugh Jack­man de­liv­ers an in­tense and vis­cer­al per­for­mance in what is es­sen­tial­ly a har­row­ing, grit­ty char­ac­ter study that does an amaz­ing job rip­ping the viewer’s soul apart lit­tle by lit­tle with a touch­ing sto­ry about mor­tal­i­ty and a dev­as­tat­ing ex­plo­sion of blood and vi­o­lence.


Lo­gan Lucky (2017)

Soder­bergh leaves his al­leged re­tire­ment to de­liv­er us this en­ter­tain­ing (yet un­even) ca­per that may not be re­mark­able but ben­e­fits from a good en­sem­ble cast, even if the movie suf­fers from prob­lems of pac­ing and re­lies on a sense of hu­mor that doesn’t al­ways work.


Loki: Ar­nal­do Bap­tista (2008)

Mak­ing use of a lot of great in­ter­views and won­der­ful archive footage, this is a com­pre­hen­sive doc­u­men­tary and touch­ing trib­ute to one of the most im­por­tant and in­flu­en­tial names in the his­to­ry of Brazil­ian mu­sic, and how he went from star­dom to falling vic­tim to de­pres­sion.


Lola (1981)

The last film of Fassbinder’s BRD Tril­o­gy is this sharp so­cial satire that proves to be hi­lar­i­ous from start to fin­ish, a quirky melo­dra­ma of gar­ish vi­su­als and glossy col­ors with Bar­bara Sukowa dis­play­ing a de­li­cious com­ic tim­ing in a sto­ry that can be sur­pris­ing­ly touch­ing.


Lola Mon­tès (1955)

The re­cent­ly re­stored ver­sion as orig­i­nal­ly in­tend­ed by Ophüls is a sump­tu­ous chef-d’oeuvre. The pro­duc­tion de­sign, cos­tumes, the flu­id cam­er­a­work, the won­der­ful script, every­thing is re­mark­able from the first shot to the last, a great plea­sure for the eyes and the heart.


Loli­ta (1962)

The fact that Nabokov’s per­verse and sen­su­al mas­ter­piece got adapt­ed was a re­mark­able achieve­ment, con­sid­er­ing its polemic sub­ject and the year the film was re­leased, and Kubrick was a ge­nius turn it into a sub­tle sto­ry that im­plies more than it shows while still re­main­ing true to the nov­el.


Lolo (2015)

Julie Delpy only shows us that she has an aw­ful sense of hu­mor and doesn’t re­al­ize that most of her jokes and gags are hor­ri­ble and un­fun­ny, which is made even worse by the fact that most of the char­ac­ters are so self­ish and de­testable, and Vin­cent La­coste a ter­ri­ble ac­tor.


The Lone Ranger (2013)

It is true that it is over­long and has an ir­reg­u­lar pace (some edit­ing re­quired), but it man­ages to be a very en­ter­tain­ing pop­corn movie, mak­ing the best of it all with a de­li­cious slap­stick hu­mor, a gor­geous pro­duc­tion de­sign, top-notch vi­su­al ef­fects and an amaz­ing score.


Lone Sur­vivor (2013)

The ti­tle and ini­tial scenes make the film quite pre­dictable, but this is com­pen­sat­ed by a sur­pris­ing­ly bru­tal sec­ond act with a first-rate sound job. The only prob­lem is that Berg is too con­cerned about mak­ing it a brain­less pro-troop ac­tion movie, some­thing clear­er in the movie’s stu­pid third act.


The Long Good­bye (1973)

An in­tri­cate film noir satire that has all the el­e­ments that we ex­pect from a Ray­mond Chan­dler sto­ry, only this time the pro­tag­o­nist of The Big Sleep is up­dat­ed to the 1970s with a shock­er in the end and a de­li­cious melan­choly song that will stay in your head for a long time.


Long Shot (2019)

Like a good dish lack­ing salt, this is a movie that doesn’t have the wit­ti­ness it needs to take off and be­come re­al­ly tasty, and it doesn’t help that Theron and Ro­gen don’t have that much chem­istry or that the plot de­cides to solve a clever con­flict in a typ­i­cal­ly safe, im­plau­si­ble way.


The Look of Si­lence (2014)

De­spite its ten­den­cy to place more the in­ter­view­er at the cen­ter of the doc than its sub­ject, and how his con­fronta­tion seems at times fruit­less and mis­guid­ed, this wel­come fol­low-up to The Act of Killing is also re­veal­ing as it ex­pos­es a coun­try try­ing to bury its past.


Look Who’s Back (2015)

Ma­suc­ci de­serves an Os­car for his mag­net­ic, hi­lar­i­ous per­for­mance as Hitler in this satir­i­cal gem that com­bines mock­u­men­tary with fic­tion and achieves mo­ments of ab­solute bril­liance when in­duc­ing peo­ple to ex­pose their worst side — even mak­ing Bo­rat seem like an am­a­teur in com­par­i­son.


Look­ing for Eric (2009)

A de­light­ful and amaz­ing­ly en­gag­ing tragi­com­e­dy that blends sad­ness, ten­der­ness and a lot of hu­mor to de­liv­er this heart-warm­ing sto­ry that ben­e­fits from some amaz­ing per­for­mances — es­pe­cial­ly by a hi­lar­i­ous Eric Can­tona at his most philo­soph­i­cal.


Loop­er (2012)

A very smart and thought-pro­vok­ing sci­ence-fic­tion that in­jects some thrilling ac­tion scenes in a com­pelling time trav­el nar­ra­tive and de­serves spe­cial praise for its great di­rec­tion, fine act­ing and for re­spect­ing our in­tel­li­gence like any first-rate sci-fi should.


The Lo­rax (2012)

A cute and en­joy­able an­i­ma­tion that stays true to the eco­log­i­cal mes­sage of Dr. Seuss’s book. With an op­ti­mistic and hope­ful sto­ry that speaks to all chil­dren, it proves to be much more ef­fi­cient (and fun­nier) than the likes of Ice Age 4 and Mada­gas­car 3, also re­leased in the same year.


Lore (2012)

A dis­as­trous dra­ma that feels rep­e­ti­tious and point­less, nev­er mak­ing clear what Short­land wants to say with this — and her heavy-hand­ed di­rec­tion makes even more bla­tant the way she em­braces the most ob­vi­ous soap-opera clichés and cheap nar­ra­tive ar­ti­fices.


Lost and Deliri­ous (2001)

It is re­al­ly in­ter­est­ing to see how Pool makes this Shake­speare­an sto­ry of un­re­quit­ed love and ob­ses­sion look like it could be tak­ing place in any time, and it is also very nice the way that she grad­u­al­ly moves her main fo­cus from Barton’s char­ac­ter to the film’s true pro­tag­o­nist, Paulie.


The Lost City of Z (2016)

James Grey makes a weak film that wants to be an ex­cit­ing ad­ven­ture (yet it does man­age to be tense at times) but is most­ly un­in­ter­est­ing and over­long, with not much to of­fer be­sides a lot of clichés, sil­ly di­a­logue and poor­ly-de­vel­oped mo­ti­va­tions for its ob­sessed pro­tag­o­nist.


Lost Is­lands (2008)

A re­fresh­ing com­ing-of-age com­e­dy that per­fect­ly cap­tures the feel of by­gone days with a won­der­ful ‘80s sound­track and a great pro­duc­tion de­sign — and it is im­pres­sive­ly well edit­ed and evolves into a strong dra­ma cen­tered on fam­i­ly, dreams and choic­es.


Lost Riv­er (2014)

Gosling cre­ates an omi­nous at­mos­phere with a hyp­no­tiz­ing cin­e­matog­ra­phy and a great score, but this in­cred­i­bly pre­ten­tious and self-in­dul­gent sal­ad of in­flu­ences — Lynch, Bava, Ar­gen­to, Refn and so on — has a ter­ri­ble sense of lack of pur­pose, with ap­par­ent­ly noth­ing to say.


Loud­er Than Bombs (2015)

Tri­er fol­lows his ex­cel­lent Oslo, 31. Au­gust with an­oth­er dev­as­tat­ing dra­ma, this time about a fam­i­ly who must cope with the weight of loss, and, even if a bit un­even, it is nice to see the sin­cere way that it shows and ex­plores the com­plex­i­ty of the char­ac­ters’ feel­ings.


Love (2015)

A self-in­dul­gent (and end­less) film with maybe the worst 3D I have ever seen (it sim­ply has no sense of depth and makes the film look too dark), while the di­a­logue is in­fan­tile and aw­ful, the ac­tors ter­ri­ble (Muy­ock is eas­i­ly the worst) and it feels al­most im­pos­si­ble to care about such a de­testable pro­tag­o­nist.


Love Af­ter Love (2017)

If Clos­er had been made by In­g­mar Bergman, I guess the re­sult would have been some­thing like this, an adult, soul-crush­ing fam­i­ly dra­ma about love, death and the ef­fect of time on those who grieve, with an op­pres­sive cin­e­matog­ra­phy that re­flects well the char­ac­ters’ emo­tion­al state.


Love & Friend­ship (2016)

I love the Eng­lish lan­guage, and it is a de­light­ful plea­sure to lis­ten to Jane Austen’s de­li­cious and fun­ny di­a­logue from the mouths of such a won­der­ful cast (es­pe­cial­ly Kate Beck­in­sale and Tom Ben­nett), and the film ben­e­fits from a jaw-drop­ping pro­duc­tion and cos­tume de­sign.


Love & Mer­cy (2014)

Paul Dano and John Cu­sack of­fer two ex­cep­tion­al per­for­mances as Wil­son in two dis­tinct (and at times even con­trast­ing) stages of his life, and this in­sight­ful biopic is very well di­rect­ed, beau­ti­ful­ly pho­tographed and filled with the won­der­ful mu­sic of The Beach Boys.


Love & Oth­er Drugs (2010)

I dis­agree with the com­mon feel­ing that this movie doesn’t ex­act­ly know what sto­ry it wants to tell; in fact, it is a de­cent ro­man­tic com­e­dy that bal­ances well its dif­fer­ent plot el­e­ments, with a great chem­istry be­tween the leads and a very hot Jake Gyl­len­haal al­most naked in sev­er­al scenes.


The Love Guru (2008)

A movie so ab­solute­ly puerile, un­fun­ny and dread­ful in every as­pect imag­in­able that it makes you want to take Mike My­ers by the hair and beat him with a tire iron. Is there re­al­ly still any­one in this plan­et who thinks that name puns and di­ar­rhea jokes are at all fun­ny?


Love Me For­ev­er or Nev­er (1986)

Pre­ten­tious, tire­some and rep­e­ti­tious, this is a poor­ly-di­rect­ed male fan­ta­sy that doesn’t even seem to re­al­ize how sex­ist it is, with cheap di­a­logue and cen­tered on two self­ish char­ac­ters who be­come more and more de­testable as the sto­ry moves on to­wards a stu­pid end­ing.


Love Me If You Dare (2003)

Not only is every scene be­tween moth­er and son hideous­ly corny and sen­ti­men­tal, but it is al­most im­pos­si­ble to put up with two so­ciopaths so ut­ter­ly im­ma­ture, dis­gust­ing and loath­some amid con­flicts that are all child­ish, ir­ri­tat­ing and ar­ti­fi­cial.


Love, Si­mon (2018)

The im­pres­sion one gets while watch­ing this movie is that every­one tried too hard to make it as adorable as pos­si­ble, but it doesn’t even care to avoid the most ba­sic rom­com clichés, es­pe­cial­ly in its third act when things be­come too sap­py, sil­ly and con­trived.


Love Songs (2007)

The songs are most­ly nice (when the lyrics are not so ir­ri­tat­ing­ly pre­ten­tious), but the film seems to wan­der around with­out a clear sense of pur­pose, con­vic­tion and fo­cus, while also be­ing way too bleak and down­beat for its own good with its blueish, mo­not­o­nous vi­su­als.


Love Steaks (2013)

The main rea­son why this de­li­cious film works so damn well (both as a com­e­dy and as a ro­mance) is be­cause Franz Ro­gows­ki and Lana Coop­er are so damn good play­ing two char­ac­ters who are ab­solute­ly dif­fer­ent from each oth­er but who couldn’t have a bet­ter on­screen chem­istry to­geth­er.


Lovelace (2013)

The most in­ter­est­ing thing in this sol­id biopic is how it shows us one side of Lin­da Lovelace’s life and then sub­verts it to re­veal the real dark truth be­hind all that we are wit­ness­ing, be­com­ing a touch­ing dra­ma about a ter­ri­bly un­lucky woman caught in a very sad life.


Love­less (2017)

Even if his metaphor and po­lit­i­cal com­men­tary are a bit too ob­vi­ous, Zvyag­int­sev cre­ates a hard-hit­ting and dev­as­tat­ing por­tray­al of bit­ter­ness, dis­sat­is­fac­tion and lone­li­ness in mod­ern Rus­sia as we fol­low char­ac­ters who con­stant­ly hurt each oth­er and are un­able to change.


The Love­ly Bones (2009)

It pains me to see this huge mis­take made by Pe­ter Jack­son, a ridicu­lous blend of con­trived thriller, un­con­vinc­ing dra­ma and pa­thet­ic af­ter­life fan­ta­sy full of self-in­dul­gent CGI ef­fects — and even worse is the de­spi­ca­ble way that it wants us to ac­cept the mur­der of a 14-year-old girl as part of life.


Lover for a Day (2017)

Even though it is in­ter­est­ing and even en­gag­ing, it feels al­most im­pos­si­ble not to leave this film with the im­pres­sion that a lot was told but lit­tle was ac­tu­al­ly said in the end, with every­thing be­ing most­ly in­con­se­quen­tial and not re­al­ly prob­ing any­where be­neath the sur­face.


Lovers of the Arc­tic Cir­cle (1998)

Told al­most as a quirky love fa­ble bathed in icy blue and full of the most po­et­ic co­in­ci­dences, this is an atyp­i­cal ro­mance that doesn’t even let us no­tice how strange­ly hooked to these odd char­ac­ters we be­come, hop­ing above all else that fate will bring them to­geth­er in the end.


The Lovers on the Bridge (1991)

A beau­ti­ful and pro­found­ly mov­ing tale of amour fou about what it means to live with (and to be set free from) any crutch­es of de­pen­den­cy, be­ing those real or sym­bol­ic (like a blind­ing dis­ease or the need of some­one else’s af­fec­tion), im­posed on us by so­ci­ety, our­selves or our own lim­i­ta­tions.


Lov­ing (2016)

I find it re­mark­able how Nichols uses a sober, un­sen­ti­men­tal ap­proach (with a very nice at­ten­tion to de­tails) to tell this real-life sto­ry and move us be­cause of the sheer strength of what he wants to say, ben­e­fit­ing most­ly from two ex­cel­lent cen­tral per­for­mances.


Lov­ing Vin­cent (2017)

It will be def­i­nite­ly re­mem­bered for how it looks: ab­solute­ly gor­geous and unique like a Van Gogh paint­ing in mo­tion, that is for sure; yet the film’s unim­pres­sive Cit­i­zen-Kane-es­que plot doesn’t of­fer as much to match its in­cred­i­ble tech­ni­cal achieve­ment, which is a pity.


Lu­cio Flavio (1977)

The di­a­logue is awk­ward some­times and it can be a bit frus­trat­ing that the film’s two most pow­er­ful scenes turn out to be dreams, but even so this is an ex­cel­lent and well-di­rect­ed biopic that lets us sym­pa­thize with a real-life ban­dit who was main­ly a pawn in the hands of a cor­rupt po­lice.


Lucky (2017)

Har­ry Dean Stan­ton should have re­ceived an Os­car for his sub­lime farewell in this film, a touch­ing (yet rather un­even) char­ac­ter study that works more when em­brac­ing a min­i­mal­ist Jim Jar­musch-like style than when try­ing to be David Lynch with a philo­soph­i­cal “mes­sage.”


Lucy (2014)

The type of baf­fling­ly stu­pid movie that be­lieves to be much smarter than it ever comes close to be, in­ca­pable of rais­ing any min­i­mal­ly con­struc­tive philo­soph­i­cal ques­tions be­yond the most ob­vi­ous pseu­do-meta­phys­i­cal silli­ness and with Jo­hans­son in a ter­ri­ble per­for­mance.


The Lunch­box (2013)

A warm, melan­choly dra­ma that en­chants and moves us even more thanks to the way that its three-di­men­sion­al char­ac­ters re­veal so much about them­selves be­tween the lines — and it is only a pity, though, that it drags a bit in the third act and ends in a rather frus­trat­ing con­clu­sion.


The Lyre of De­light (1978)

Struc­tured when edit­ed and with no ac­tu­al script, this is an in­ter­est­ing nar­ra­tive ex­per­i­ment in con­cept that sim­ply did not work when put into prac­tice (how­ev­er tech­ni­cal­ly im­pres­sive it is), be­ing in the end a mess with­out fo­cus, di­rec­tion, sense of pur­pose or struc­ture for that mat­ter.